By Deborah McAleeseBelfast Telegraph
Wednesday, 13 October 2010Prominent Lurgan republican Colin Duffy was “sexually violated” as he was strip searched by prison guards before he was due to appear in court, his lawyer has claimed
Duffy’s lawyer said it happened before a preliminary investigation into the Lurgan man’s alleged role in the murders of two soldiers at Massereene Army Barracks.
The lawyer told Coleraine Magistrates Court that the 42-year-old had been strip searched for the second morning in a row on his way to court “in what only can be described as sexual violation” and that he received a cut lip during another strip search when he arrived back in prison from court on Monday evening.
As Duffy appeared to limp into the dock yesterday his lawyer told the District Judge that his treatment prior to being brought to court and on his return “brings to question his ability to have a fair trial”.
During the preliminary investigation — which will determine if Duffy and his co-accused Brian Shivers (45) will stand trial for the murder of two soldiers and the attempted murders of six civilians on March 7 last year — concern was raised by a defence barrister over DNA evidence being relied on by the prosecution.
The court was told that DNA samples taken from a seatbelt, in what is believed to have been the getaway car, and the tip of a latex glove that was found in the vehicle, match DNA samples taken from Duffy and therefore link him to the car.
An apparent attempt to burn the car, which had been bought 13 days before the attack through Autotrader for £380, had failed.
A forensic scientist told the court that the chance of the DNA found on the latex glove belonging to any other person but Duffy was one in a billion.
The probe also heard that DNA on a mobile phone and two matchsticks found inside the car and another matchstick found close to it links Shivers to the vehicle.
A defence lawyer for Shivers told the court that a highly sensitive method of DNA profiling was used by forensic scientists in this case and that the profiles must be interpreted with caution. He said that DNA evidence cannot be looked at in isolation.
Sapper Mark Quinsey (23) and Sapper Patrick Azimkar (21) were shot dead as they picked up a pizza order at the front of the Antrim army base just hours before they were due to be deployed to Afghanistan.
More than 60 rounds of ammunition were fired from two automatic weapons during the Real IRA attack. The gunmen fled the scene in a Vauxhall Cavalier car. What is believed to have been the getaway car was discovered a short time later near the scene with a “terrorist kit” containing camouflage clothing, balaclavas and ammunition in the boot.